Wonder and Waste Not

Woman artist Mac Valdezco was featured in the Karen Montinola section of the recently concluded Art Fair Philippines. Here are excerpts from the essay catalogue, ideas for which developed from an afternoon conversation with her: 

There are three central elements to Valdezco’s practice: a reverence for material tempered with a celebratory playfulness, ‘joinery’ as the backbone of her craft, and the ability to transform ordinary objects into vehicles of wonder.


Her works illustrate a painstaking attention to detail, a fineness to a craft that relies greatly on stringing, lashing, or binding things. There is innate rhythm to the act: the limp or rigid hold, the loose or tight joint, the chromatic scheme achieved by the proximity of conjoined objects, even seamed or frayed edges of works.


Transformation is essential to this dynamic creative process. Valdezco is fascinated by impermanence: animals changing skin, memories dimming, seasons turning, the flight of forms is what she strives to capture. The possibilities of medium defines a practice hinged on animating lifeless refuse or discards.The after lives of these industrial remains is cartography of global consumption and the labour that assembles them into useful objects.Mac Land

One can say the artist’s pieces likewise enter another sphere of consumption, that of the art world yet it is a site where these remains are animated by wonder; a place that we can perhaps aspire to rescue from vacuity. Valdezco’s engagement of material and respect for form transforms objects into vehicles of wonder, her creative process a platform for dynamic transformation.


In a world as deadened by the materials she rescues, reworks and transforms, perhaps this capacity for wonder may enable us to be redeemed by hope.



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